Will Medicare Pay For Eye Exams

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What Are The Four Different Types Of Eye Exams

Medicare & You: Glaucoma

There are a few different types of eye exams, and whether or not Medicare will cover your exam depends on which of the following categories it falls into:

  • A routine eye exam evaluates the overall health of your eyes. Its also called a comprehensive eye exam. During this type of exam, your provider will check for and possibly diagnose eye disease or abnormalities.
  • Your provider may also evaluate your need for eyeglasses . While this is technically called a refraction, some folks refer to it as a vision exam.
  • If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, youll need a separate contact lens exam in addition to your routine eye exam. Your provider will perform specific tests and measurements to fit you for contact lenses.
  • If you have a problem with your eye, youd have a medical eye exam one meant to diagnose and treat an eye condition. Conditions that require a medical eye exam include an eye injury, cataracts, irritation or infection, and many more.

Medicare Vision Coverage And Medicare Advantage Plans

Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to the government-run Medicare program and provide another way to get your Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, benefits. Offered through private insurance companies that are contracted with Medicare, these plans are required to cover at least the same level of benefits as Medicare Part A and Part B .

However, one benefit of Medicare Advantage plans is that they may offer coverage that goes beyond Original Medicare, including routine vision or dental, hearing, and prescription drugs. Benefits vary by plan, but Medicare Advantage plans may cover routine eye exams, eyeglasses, contacts, and fittings for frames and contact lenses this coverage would be in addition to all of the preventive or diagnostic vision services and treatment covered under Original Medicare. Since each Medicare Advantage plan may offer different coverage, always check with the individual plan to see if vision benefits are included and what your costs may be. You still need to continue paying your Medicare Part B premium if you sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, in addition to any premium the plan may charge.

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What Do Eye Exams Cost With Medicare

As mentioned, Medicare generally doesnt cover routine eye exams, but there are exceptions for high-risk patients.

The average cost of eye exams without insurance ranges between $50-$70. Most insurance policies dont usually cover routine eye exams and might have additional copays. Since routine eye exams are generally not covered by Medicare, youd pay 100 percent of their cost.

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C Coverage For Refraction Exam

However, some Medicare Advantage plans provide coverage for a refraction exam. Medicare Advantage plans must cover everything Original Medicare covers, though they also offer some additional benefits as well. However, coverage and out-of-pocket costs will vary depending on the plan you have. Many Medicare Part C plans provide coverage for routine vision care, which is why refraction exams before the construction of your contact lenses or eyeglasses are part of what they cover.

Does Medicare Cover Vision

Do Medicare Pay For Eye Exams

In a nutshell, Original Medicare doesnt cover routine eye exams. However, under certain circumstances and conditions, Medicare can cover certain types of vision care. For example, Medicare Part B covers medically necessary screenings and eye exams for high-risk individuals with glaucoma, diabetes, or macular degeneration conditions.

Additionally, if you have cataract surgery, Part B can cover medically necessary vision care such as eyeglasses or contact lenses. Medicare can also provide coverage for treatment or surgery for eye conditions such as corneal disease, eye injuries or infections.

Lets say you have an emergency and you need to be hospitalized for eye surgery. In this case, Medicare Part A can cover the hospitalization and inpatient care after you pay the deductible and 20 percent of the remaining costs. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans offer additional coverage that Original Medicare may not cover. So, check with your individual Medicare Advantage plan to see whether they provide any vision coverage.

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Find A Medicare Advantage Plan That Covers Dental And Vision Care

Medicare Advantage plans can come in a variety of types, such as HMOs or PPOs.

The type of plan you have may affect which dental or vision providers you can visit in your plan network. Before enrolling in a plan, its wise to check the plans network participants to see if your favorite dentist or optometrist accepts the plan.

Compare Medicare Advantage plans in your area

Or call 1-800-557-6059TTY Users: 711 to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!

1 Fugelsten Biniek, J. et al. . Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from

About the author

Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.

His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.

Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelors degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.

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Does Medicare Cover Glaucoma Surgery

As people get older, they can start to experience health problems that they never had before. One common issue among seniors is glaucoma, a condition that leads to vision loss over time if left untreated. If youre a senior citizen with glaucoma, then you may be wondering if Medicare covers your surgery.

Original Medicare andMedicare Advantage will cover glaucoma. Medicare considers glaucoma to be a medical condition. In general, Medicare will cover what a doctor deems medically necessary. Medicare doesnt cover routine vision. Exams, glasses, contacts are considered routine vision.

Well take a closer look at whether or not Medicare covers glaucoma surgery and what you need to do to make sure youre covered. Well also highlight some of the benefits of glaucoma surgery and answer some frequently asked questions about this procedure. So if youre wondering whether or not Medicare will help you pay for your glaucoma surgery, read on!

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How Do Medigap Plans Cover Vision Care

Medigap plans cover costs left over after Medicare pays. Once you meet the Medicare deductible, you pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for vision services. Depending on the policy, Medigap plans cover some or all of that 20%.

Medigap plans pay your remaining balance in full, with just a few exceptions. Plan K pays only 50% of your cost, and Plan L pays 75%. Plan N pays the 20% and then charges you a copay.

If Medicare rejects a claim, Medigap does not cover any of the cost and you are responsible for all charges.

The table below shows what you would pay for vision services performed in a medical office after meeting your Medicare deductible. In this scenario, Medicare approved a charge of $100, of which it paid 80%, or $80, to the participating provider.

With Medigap, your portion of the remaining $20 would be as follows:

Medigap plan
$0-$20 copay

Medicare Eye Exam Coverage

Get Medicare with Vision Coverage from UnitedHealthcare

A simple vision test is included in the Welcome to Medicare preventive visit. Its covered by , but its offered only once and within the first year of Part B coverage.

Medicare does not cover routine eye exams for eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, a yearly eye exam is covered by Medicare Part B for those living with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. Eye exams for diagnostic purposes, such as testing for glaucoma or macular degeneration, may also be covered.

You will have to pay 20% of the amount approved by Medicare for these services. Your Part B deductible will also apply. A copay will be charged if you get tested in a hospital outpatient setting.

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Eye Injuries And Diseases

Medicare will cover an injury to your eye just as it would an injury anywhere else. It also covers eye diseases and treatments such as ranibizumab , aflibercept , and ocular photodynamic, Review of Medicare Part B Claims for Intravitreal Injections of Eylea and Lucentis, Accessed November 23,, , Accessed November 23, 2021

Will Medicare Cover Treatment For Eye Injuries

Like excessive dryness, eye injuries arent considered routine, and are therefore eligible for coverage under Medicare, subject to the usual 20% coinsurance and deductible that Medigap can help with. Medicare Advantage will cover treatment for eye trauma as well, although out-of-pocket costs will depend on the plans benefit structure.

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What Is Medicare And How Does It Work

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people over 65 and individuals with disabilities and certain medical conditions. There are different levels of Medicare that cover various medical expenses.

Medicare Part A is known as hospital insurance. It covers inpatient hospital stays, hospice care, nursing facility care and some home health care.

Medicare Part B is like medical insurance. It covers doctors visits, mental health care, lab work, medical equipment and supplies, preventive services and outpatient surgery.

When combined, Parts A and B are called Original Medicare and are overseen by the federal government.

Medicare Part C offers the most convenience of any plan because it covers everything in Parts A and B. Some plans also cover prescription drugs , dental and vision. Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance retailers that are contracted with the government.

Medicare Part D is a stand-alone Medicare plan that can supplement Original Medicare with prescription drug coverage.

Does Medicare Cover Eye Exams For Glaucoma

Do Medicare Pay For Eye Exams

Glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve due to high pressure in your eye. This is a medical condition that is important to catch early and is one of the leading causes of blindness in those over age 60.

Original Medicare does cover an annual test for glaucoma if youre in a high-risk category for the disease.

High risk includes:

  • Having a family history of glaucoma
  • Being an African American over age 50
  • Being a Hispanic over age 65

Medicare Advantage will also cover a glaucoma screening once a year if youre in a high-risk category. You may also be covered for screening in other circumstances. Youll want to check with your specific plan for details.

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Will Medicare Cover Treatment For Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve, potentially resulting in vision loss. Medicare Part B will cover annual glaucoma screenings for those considered high-risk, including diabetics and older Americans with a family history of the disease. African Americans aged 50 and older, and Hispanic individuals aged 65 and over are also considered high-risk.

Youll still be responsible for your Part B deductible and if youve already met the deductible, 20% of the cost of your exam. .

Glaucoma treatment is generally covered under Medicare. Outpatient laser surgery falls under Part B, and eye drops to address the condition fall under Medicare Part D. Your out-of-pocket costs associated with your drops will depend on your Part D plans formulary.

Because Medicare Advantage is required to provide coverage for the conditions that are covered by Original Medicare, it also covers glaucoma screenings and treatment. But because Medicare Advantage plans can design their own benefits, the out-of-pocket costs can vary considerably from one plan to another.

Medigap, meanwhile, can cover some or all of the costs associated with your glaucoma screening and treatment under Original Medicare by picking up the tab for your deductibles and coinsurance. And if you have supplemental coverage provided by an employer, your out-of-pocket costs will depend on the specifics of the plan.

Best Medicare Advantage Options For Vision Care

Of the vision plans we reviewed, three stood out as top options based on factors such as add-on benefits and coverage limits.

Blue Cross Blue Shield: Highest eyewear benefit amount

Kaiser Permanente Added eyewear allowance with purchase of Advantage Plus package Standard biannual eyewear benefit of $40 very low Advantage Plus doesn’t bring it to the level of the top plans 5

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Which Private Medicare Advantage Plans Cover Vision

Almost all Medicare Advantage plans include vision care such as examinations and eyeglasses, but most place an annual dollar limit on the benefits. In 2021, about half the plans were capped at $100 annually or less, according to KFF research.

Even generous plans limit how often you can replace glasses and/or contact lenses and how often they will pay for eye exams. A little over half of plans limit people to one pair of glasses per year, while just under half put the limit at one pair every 2 years. And there are likely to be restrictions on which eye-care professionals and services you can use, KFF found.

Does Medicare Cover Eye Exams For Cataracts

Eye On Health: Medicare Enrollment

Medicare typically pays allowable charges related to diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, including cataract surgery. Youâre responsible for the Part A deductible if your surgery requires a hospital stay, and your Part B deductible, plus your 20% coinsurance for covered outpatient services.

If you have cataract surgery with an intraocular lens implant, Part B usually pays for one pair of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses after your surgery.

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How Often Can You Get An Eye Test With Medicare

Original Medicare does not cover eye exams. However, Original Medicare may cover eye exams and diagnostic test, if you have the following eye diseases or conditions:

  • If you have diabetes, Medicare covers an annual eye exam to check for diabetic retinopathy. Medicare Part B covers a good chunk of the costs of diabetic retinopathy once per year as long as you have diabetes, and see a doctor whos legally allowed to perform the test. To receive this coverage, first you must meet your Part B deductible. Then, youd pay 20% of allowable charges, and Medicare will pay 80%.
  • You can qualify to have a large amount of the costs of one of the tests covered every 12 months if youre at high risk for developing glaucoma. This means you must fulfill one or more of the following conditions:
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Be African American and age 50 or older
  • Be Hispanic and age 50 or older
  • If you satisfy the above conditions, and have met your Part B deductible, then you would be responsible for 20% of the allowable charges.
  • Macular Degeneration, Age-Related
  • Diagnostic eye exams and tests as often as the doctor believes it is medically necessary to stay on top of the issue. For each exam or test, you would pay 20% as long as you have already met the Part B deductible.
  • Does Medicare Cover Eye Exams For Eye Injuries

    If your eyes are damaged in an accident or injury, Medicare usually pays for diagnostic eye exams and tests to determine the nature and extent of the injury.

    Generally speaking, Medicare covers medically necessary eye exams to diagnose and treat any diseases or conditions of the eye, such as an eye infection or a foreign body in your eye.

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    Are Eye Exams Covered Under Medicare

    While routine eye exams usually arent covered by Original Medicare, they often are covered by Medicare Advantage. GoHealth has licensed insurance agents just a phone call away who can discuss Medicare Advantage plans that offer vision coverage and review the details of specific plans with you.

    If you are enrolled in both Part A and Part B of Original Medicare, you are eligible to switch to Medicare Advantage , which offers the same Part A and B benefits while often bundling additional services like dental, hearing and, yes, vision.

    Medicare Supplement Plans: Additional Coverage

    Find Out if Medicare Covers Eye Exams and Eyeglasses

    Medicare Supplement plans are another option for people who want to enroll in Original Medicare while also getting extra perks, including partial coverage for vision care services. Medigap policies will pay for the remaining costs not covered in Original Medicare, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles. Generally, Medigap plans pay for 20% of the costs not covered under Medicare Part A and Part B.

    Like Medicare Advantage, you can also add a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to your Medigap policy. This will pay for medications associated with your eye care procedures and treatments.

    Again, the extent of this coverage varies based upon where you live and the specific plan you choose.

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    How Can You Get Your Routine Eye Exams Paid For By Medicare

    If none of the special circumstances above apply to you, dont give up yet. Its still possible for you to obtain Medicare coverage that will pay for routine vision care.

    A Medicare Advantage plan is an alternative way of getting your Medicare benefits. These are healthcare plans that are offered by Medicare-approved private companies, and they take the place of Medicare A and B if you choose to enroll in one of them.

    Medicare Advantage plans offer a variety of additional benefits that are not covered under Original Medicare. Vision, dental, wellness and hearing services are offered in many of these plans.

    Extra items such as adult daycare services, transportation to medical visits, and over-the-counter medications also may be included. Medicare Part D, which covers prescription medication, is also usually incorporated into these plans.

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    Unlike Original Medicare, which is accepted almost everywhere, Medical Advantage plans usually have a local network of preferred providers. Like many employer health plans, they may not cover services that are out of network, or they may cover a smaller portion of out-of-network services. They may also have certain rules for referrals and other services, so be sure you understand what is required of you under the plan.

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